The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan has long been accusing India of trying to sabotage the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Top Pakistani politicians and army generals have been blaming India for staging attacks in Pakistan through its external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Obviously, all this has been without proof.

But now the Pakistani propaganda has gone a step ahead by incorporating figures like when India founded this so called anti-CPEC cell and how much fund was allocated to it. General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan, while addressing an event in Islamabad today, charged India of running a cell to disrupt the CPEC.

“RAW established a new cell with a special allocation of over $500 million in 2015 to sabotage CPEC projects in Pakistan,” a Dawn report quoted him saying. While addressing an event in Islamabad, he further said, “India’s indirect interference in Pakistan is manifested in sponsoring Tehreek-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), Baloch and other sub-nationalist outfits and many other terrorist groups.”

Now the world can see through such baseless allegations coming from a country that is seen as a safe haven for terrorists and is increasingly becoming isolated in the world for this very reason, especially when it is against India, the world’s largest democracy, a growing global power, both economically as well as militarily and a responsible geopolitical entity.

It is Pakistan, in fact, that has been giving shelter to India’s and the world’s most wanted like Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim and is main terror exporter to India, a fact that major world powers including the US and UK have started accepting. How can the world forget that Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was in hiding in Pakistan for years before he was hunted down and killed? How can Pakistan convince the world that it is not home to the Taliban and Al Qaeda factions and the Haqqani Network?

While the ruling Pakistani elite have been brazenly lying about establishing peace in their country and browbeating their propaganda to the world to tell that they have wiped out every terror outfit, the fact is, this year alone, over 450 civilians and around 200 security forces personnel have lost their lives in over 100 incidents in the country, data from South Asia Terrorism Portal shows.


China’s One Belt One Road initiative aims to de velop economic corridors in Asia, Africa and Europe, something that India is opposed to as one of such corridors, the CPEC. India is opposed to CPEC because a part of it passes through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir that is legally India’s. For strategic reasons also, India doesn’t welcome a Chinese presence just across the border in a disputed territory that India considers its own.


Pakistan sees the CPEC, a long term $75 billion project from Gwadar port in Balochistan to Kashgar China’s Xinjiang province, as the next big thing in the nation’s history that will transform it into of hub and economic activity in this part of Asia.

But the fact is, it passes through many restive regions of Pakistan including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Balochistan and terrorists groups that are hostile to China, including TTP and Al Qaeda, have threatened to attack Chinese investments in the corridor to avenge the so-called atrocities against Uygur Muslims in Xinjiang province.

Then there are ethnic people of areas the CPEC passes through who are opposed to it. A combine of religious groups in Gilgit Baltistan has demanded the complete removal of Pakistan’s Army from its soil.

Baloch people, who are fighting the Pakistani establishment for their freedom and have long been accusing Pakistan of exploiting their province, see the CPEC as yet another tool to exploit the Baloch people. Baloch nationalists blame Pakistan for forcefully acceding their province. Pakistani security forces are alleged to have killed thousands of Baloch people. Reports of rape, torture and disappearances are common. Baloch people say they are ethnically different from Pakistanis and are demanding freedom or autonomy to decide their own affairs.

How bad is the security scenario in the CPEC regions also reflects in the fact that Pakistan has raised a Special Security Division (SSD) of 15000 soldiers to protect some 7000 Chinese individuals and CPEC installations that are coming up. This is when the project has just begun. The CPEC was proposed in 2013 and an agreement between Pakistan and China was signed in May 2013.



It has been a much needed change in India’s diplomatic manoeuvres. The world’s largest democracy has finally broken the shackles of misplaced notions to emerge as a powerful voice in geopolitics.

And this change, if has surprised an arrogant and power blind China for its resilience, has completely decimated Pakistani propaganda in international circles, especially at multilateral platforms like the United Nations or the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

Pakistan has, for its own peril, made an anti-India stand its lifeline and has been trying to destabilize India ever since it came into existence in 1947 and what has been ironical that its propaganda even succeeded in outperforming India when it came to diplomacy and PR.

India was never outspoken in promoting its viewpoint and always lacked a sense of communication finesse to counter the Pakistani propaganda. If we go through the speeches delivered by India at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on occasions like the Kargil War or 2010 Kashmir unrest or the situation in Kashmir now, we can see this change.

To continue..



The article originally appeared on India Today.

The four speeches that the Narendra Modi government has delivered from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) clearly tell where it began on Pakistan and where it stands now.

The first one, in September 2014, was addressed to the UNGA by Narendra Modi while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered the other three, including the latest one on September 23, 2017.

And when we go through them for the Pakistan specific portions, we can clearly see a trend – that how India first gave its rogue neighbour a chance to mend its ways and stop sponsoring terror into India – and then how it was compelled to take a tough, non-compromising position after seeing that Pakistan was beyond redemption.

After his government’s inaugural in May 2014 where Narendra Modi had invited Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif along with other SAARC leaders, he did try and gave Pakistan several chances until January 2016 when terrorists who had come Pakistan attacked Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in Punjab.

Though India had cancelled secretary level talks in August 2014 over Pakistan’s stubborn attitude to include Kashmiri separatists in bilateral talks, India really never closed the doors until Pathankot happened.

Modi and Sharif met in November 2014 in Kathmandu during the SAARC Summit, then on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Ufa in July 2015, in Paris in November 2015 on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference and in December 2015 when, in an unprecedented friendly gesture, Narendra Modi took a detour while en route to Delhi from Kabul and landed in Lahore to meet and greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday on December 25.

And the language of Modi’s UNGA speech on September 27, 2014 reflects that. The speech that mentioned Pakistan four times and terror 18 times said that “Modi was prepared to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in a peaceful atmosphere, without the shadow of terrorism, to promote friendship and cooperation” adding that, “however, Pakistan must also take its responsibility seriously to create an appropriate atmosphere for bilateral dialogue.”

India’s 2015 speech at the UNGA though put Pakistan directly in the dock for sheltering terrorists and spoke forcefully of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Kashmir, it didn’t mention Pakistan more than three times in hopes that sense could still prevail in the mindset of the Pakistani ruling elite. Addressed by Sushma Swaraj on October 1, 2015, the speech said that “India remained open to dialogue but talks and terror could not go together.”

She added in speech where she mentioned terror 19 times, “Let us hold talks at the level of NSAs on all issues connected to terrorism and an early meeting of our Directors General of Military Operations to address the situation on the border. If the response is serious and credible, India is prepared to address all outstanding issues through a bilateral dialogue.”

But Pakistan had other evil intentions. So, in spite of Narendra Modi’s courageous step to heal India Pakistan ties, it backstabbed India just after a week, when terrorists, suspected to be from the United Jihad Council and Jaish-e-Mohammed, Pakistan based terror groups, attacked Pathankot Air Force base on January 2, 2016.

It has been a downward curve in India Pakistan ties since then with relations coming to a freeze. Pakistan’s nefarious designs did the same with the Pathankot attack probe like it has done with 2008 Mumbai terror attacks probe – absolutely nothing. Instead, it instigated a new wave of unrest in Kashmir by declaring the terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr and financially and military supporting separatists and terrorists.

The 2016 UNGA speech by Sushma Swaraj on September 26, 2016 that mentioned Pakistan six times bore the signs of frustration and the subsequent realization. The speech summed up India’s efforts to reach out to Pakistan, like Modi’s gestures, and how Pakistan backstabbed – “And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri.”

The speech that also mentioned terror 18 times then warned Pakistan in no unclear terms, “My firm advice to Pakistan is: abandon this dream. Let me state unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will always remain so.”

And 2017 only builds on that realization. Sushma’s address to the UNGA on September 23 in New York mentioned Pakistan 16 times and terror 20 times and said that “Pakistan seemed only engaged in fighting India.” Sushma speech that spent 655 words on explaining Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery held Pakistan responsible for the aborting the peace process between the two countries.

Clearly making a distinction between the two countries and showing Pakistan its real place Sushma said Pakistan had become a hopeless case and it had nothing to offer to the world and indeed to its own people apart from terrorism.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

After slamming Pakistan repeatedly for being a haven for terrorists, the United States now has criticised Islamabad for its fiscal transparency, especially with regard to its intelligence agencies that are notorious for harbouring terrorists.

The US Department of State has released its fiscal transparency report for 2017. The report, which is an annual feature, reviews those countries that receive financial assistance from the US in order to see that the US taxpayers’ money is being utilised properly.

The report, this year as well, placed Pakistan in the category of countries that did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. And as has been the case in the past, this year too, the report found that Pakistan did not make any significant progress in this direction.

The report said though the documents on financial activities were widely available in public domain, the Pakistani government did not make audit reports available publicly within a reasonable period of time. The report said that Pakistan needed to correct this.

Moreover, the report found that “the budget of the intelligence agencies was not publicly available. The report also found that “this budget was not subject to adequate parliamentary or other civilian oversight” and recommended that it be.


The 2016 and 2015 fiscal transparency reports make similar observations about Pakistan, unlike 2014 when the United States had found Pakistan fulfilling the fiscal transparency requirements.

The US State Department has been publishing annual fiscal transparency reports since 2012. The 2014 report identified “minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for each government receiving assistance” in accordance with the US laws which require the US Secretary of State and his office to “update and strengthen” them regularly.

And Pakistan, a terror sponsor state, found itself in the negative list from next year onwards, i.e., 2015 onwards. The US, which has been a major aid provider to Pakistan, and in fact has given aid over $15 billion, including military assistance to the country since 2011, has started toughening its stand after realising Pakistan’s double standards in its approach towards terrorism.

Pakistan claims to be a US ally in the war against terror and shamelessly takes US grants in that name. Yet it shelters anti-US terror groups like the Haqqani Network and the Taliban that routinely attack Washington’s interests in Afghanistan. The US has been blocking since last year a part of the military assistance to Pakistan to crack down on the Haqqani Network after it found that Pakistan failed to keep its part of the bargain.


Pakistan’s double-dealings, in fact, have left the US and its President Donald Trump miffed. While unveiling his South Asia Policy Review in July, Trump had warned Pakistan that “the US would no longer be silent about Pakistan’s double-dealings and demanded that Pakistan’s attitude of doublespeak had to change immediately.”

Things for Pakistan started taking a bad turn after Donald Trump was elected the United States President, who it seems, now firmly believes that Pakistan is not using the US taxpayers’ money appropriately, in accordance with the US laws.

It only added to Pakistan’s troubles that Trump had been a vocal critic of Pakistan since his campaign days who used to describe Pakistan with terms like ‘Pakistan is not our friend’ and “when it will apologise for providing a safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden.”

As the US was preparing to transition to Trump’s Presidency, it clearly told Pakistan to act against Hafiz Saeed and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) after the outfit’s name prominently figured in the report of the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

The US warned that if Pakistan failed to comply to this, it would be put on the list of blacklisted countries in the International Cooperative Review Group (ICRG). That would have made it necessary for Pakistan to put a formal request each time it went about transacting any business through any of the international financial institutions. Left with no other option, Pakistan had to place Saeed, a designated terrorist with a US bounty of $10 million over his head since 2012, under house arrest.



Vishal Bhardwaj’s movie Haider, which had Kashmir’s unrest as its backdrop, was in many controversies due to its plot and plot elements. One of the main contentious points raised in the film that in turn raised eyebrows was showing AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) in an extreme negative shade comparing it to the Hebrew expression Chutzpah (impudence, audacity, insolence). The film portrays as if AFSPA is the main culprit in making Kashmiris’ lives a living hell.

AFSPA is a special act passed by the Indian Parliament to give special rights to the Indian Armed Forces deployed in disturbed areas and is in force in the North-East states and Jammu & Kashmir. AFSPA has been in controversies as it is alleged that the armed forces misuse the special powers given under the act and indulge in acts of human rights violation and barbarism. Even the Supreme Court has shown displeasure on reports of human rights violations in the name of AFSPA and has asked the government that why ‘those’ disturbed areas are still ‘disturbed’ even if AFSPA is in force for over decades now.

AFSPA is Chutzpah for such controversies. But terror strikes like Uri tells us why the armed forces vehemently oppose any attempt to remove or dilute AFSPA from Kashmir.

And figures support it.

Early morning today, terrorists attacked an army installation in Uri in J&K. The cowardly attack that targeted sleeping soldiers left 17 dead. According to the SATP data (South Asia Terrorism Portal), 61 Indian soldiers have been killed in terror strike this year alone while the figure for terrorists stands at 115 – that means we are losing one soldier for every two terrorists killed. And our soldiers are sacrificing their lives in saving those Kashmiris who call AFSPA Chutzpah or use other derogatory words, or wave the Pakistani flag or hurl abuses at India. No matter how big a terror strike is, we never hear tough, strong words against Pakistan from J&K leaders and political parties – be it today’s Uri attack or 2002’s Kaluchak massacre which had left 36 people killed including the security forces personnel or the countless other terror strikes in the state which have killed thousands of Indian soldiers.

It is being circulated on Pakistan’s social media platforms that India’s itself has carried out this attack to divert the global attention from the ongoing unrest in Kashmir and to present itself as a victim in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The UNGA is in session and the Annual General Debate is slated to begin on September 20. It is also being propagandized that since Kashmir has heavy presence of armed forces due to the ongoing phase of unrest, it is impossible for foreign terrorists to reach any army camp inside Kashmir to carry out attack. Tomorrow, Pakistan will sing the same chorus.

But the Indian Army’s insistence on AFSPA lies in these very elements.

And the core of these elements is the local support that terrorism enjoys in Kashmir. A section of the kashmiri population, that scavenges on the Pakistani propaganda, and though survives on the Indian soil and its support, shamelessly sings the Pakistani tune. J&K separatists and terrorists like Syed Salahuddin are well known but what about them who remain anonymous and get mixed the general population? Indian Armed Forces are present in almost every part of the Valley but they do not know from where the next attack would come or which house has sheltered terrorists. Crowds of thousands in funerals of terrorists prove the local support and you are always in two minds when it comes to trust the next fellow. Due to the heightened security apparatus, cross-border infiltration has seen a remarkable decline, yet, if the ongoing phase of unrest is in its 74th day, its shows it is fuelled by some local base.

India Army and other security forces have to act in these adverse, dilemma-ridden circumstances where its enemy can pop up from any house or any corner of the street. And if the armed forces demand AFSPA to tackle this, this is completely logical. And about the misuse of AFSPA – our apex court has already taken cognizance of it. Yes, AFSPA can be removed or diluted from the North-Eastern states as barring few instances, most have been relatively peaceful, and a simple armed forces presence now can handle the situation. But removing AFSPA from the Kashmir of the day will not serve any purpose. It, in fact, can destabilize the situation even more when you don’t know who your enemy is. Yes, but we should seriously act on the concerns raised on misuses and abuses of AFSPA and should see what changes this decades old act needs to make it in sync with the times now. Some action has been taken and some punishments have been delivered in some cases of human rights violations in Kashmir, but we need to set example by taking stringent measures and exemplary punishments.

Life may not have room for ‘trials and errors’ but nation building policies solely depend on them.